How Much Does Stress Affect Your Fertility?

Though it’s hard to say for sure if being stressed out affects fertility, we do know that it certainly can’t do any harm to de-stress.

A running joke, or should I say an ongoing annoying statement people like to make, is “just relax and you’ll get pregnant.” According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, however, it’s not entirely clear how exactly stress impacts fertility or affect a woman’s chance of conceiving.

While friends and family are well intentioned, when you tell someone to “just relax,” the implication is that they are “creating” their fertility issues, which is not helpful whatsoever.

Involuntary childlessness is often described as a life crisis and is even likened to Kubler-Ross’ stages of death and dying. It can impact relationships with spouses, partners, family, and even friends, as well as your finances and self-esteem. Add to that the stress of going through either insemination or an IVF cycle, taking hormones, an increase in doctor appointments, not being able to predict the outcome, etc., and it’s very easy to understand why fertility treatment can create a wide range of emotions.

I know when I was in the thick of trying to conceive, fertility issues were on my mind almost constantly. I began to pull away from certain friends or family members that were either pregnant or that I worried were going to ask me when I was going to have children. Neither of these were healthy or helpful in terms of helping me manage my anxiety or get the support I needed.

Whether it’s stress, depression, or isolation, these factors, while they may not directly keep you from getting pregnant, aren’t ideal conditions for one’s sanity.

Finding a way to minimize stress that works for you while pursuing fertility treatment, if nothing else, can provide those desperately needed moments of calm and overall reminders to breathe. Below are some suggestions of well-known stress relieving techniques:

  • Acupuncture
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Journaling
  • Mind-Body Groups
  • Listening to music
  • Massage Therapy
  • Psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Walking
  • Guided imagery

Also ask yourself if there’s something you personally find relaxing. Some enjoy washing the dishes, gardening, binge watching a new show, reading, etc. It doesn’t matter if it’s not widely known as a relaxation technique. It’s more important that you find what works for you.

Will doing one or all the above get you pregnant? I absolutely can’t say it does or doesn’t. I do know though that if it gives your mind a rest, even for just five minutes, it’s worth it. While stress reduction doesn’t eliminate tension, by finding a technique or approach that best serves your needs, you can at least help reduce it.